Introduction: I recently spoke to a relative of mine who, due to her constant and voluntary exposure to the legacy AngloZionist media, sincerely believed that the three Baltic states and Poland had undergone some kind of wonderful and quasi-miraculous economic and cultural renaissance thanks to their resolute break with the putatively horrible Soviet past and their total submission to the Empire since. Listening to her, I figured that this kind of delusion was probably common amongst those who still pay attention and even believe the official propaganda. So I asked Michael Hudson, whom I consider to be the best US economists and who studied the Baltics in great detail, to reply to a few very basic questions, which he very kindly did in spite of being very pressed on time. Once again, I want to sincerely thank him for his kind time, support and expertise.
The Saker: The US propaganda often claims that the three Baltic states are a true success, just like Poland is also supposed to be. Does this notion have a factual basis? Initially it did appear that these states were experiencing growth, but was that not mostly/entirely due to EU/IMF/US subsidies? Looking specifically at the three Baltic states, and especially Latvia, these were the “showcase” Soviet republics, with a high standard of living (at least compared to the other Soviet republics) and a lot of high-tech industries (including defense contracts). Could you please outline for us what truly happened to these economies following independence? How did they “reform” their economies going from an ex-Soviet one to the modern “liberal” one?
Michael Hudson: This is a trick question, because it all depends on what you mean by “success.”
The post-Soviet neoliberalism has been a great success for kleptocrats at the top. They gave themselves the public domain, from key industries to prime real estate. But the Balts largely let their Soviet industries collapse, making no effort to salvage or reorganize them.
Much of the problem, of course, was that all the linkages to Soviet-era industry were torn apart as the Soviet Union was disbanded. With their supplier and final markets closed down from Russia to Central Asia, the Baltic economies had to start afresh – with a very right-wing tax policy and no government help whatsoever, as the government itself had become privatized in the hands of former officials and grabitizers.
Lithuania was marginally better in having some industrial policy. EU and NATO accession in 2004, along with easy credit, kicked off property bubbles in the Baltics, largely inflated by Swedish banks that made a bonanza off these countries that lacked their own banks or public credit creation. The resulting 2008 crashes were the largest in the world as a percent of GDP, with Latvia suffering the world’s biggest contraction.
The neoliberal western advisors who took control of these economies – as if this was the only alternative to Soviet bureaucracy – imposed crushing austerity programs to restore macroeconomic “stability” meaning security of their land and infrastructure grabs. This was applauded by Europe’s bankers, who thought the Balts had discovered a workable recipe allowing austerity governments to retain power in a seeming democracy. These policies would have collapsed governments anywhere else, but the ability to emigrate, plus ethnic divisions against Russian speakers, allowed these governments to survive.
It’s a historically specific situation, but Europe’s bankers promote it as a generalized model. George Soros’s INET and his associated front institutions have been leaders in subsidizing this financialization-cum-grabitization. The result has been a massive exodus of prime working age people from Lithuania and Latvia. (Estonians simply commute to Finland.) Meanwhile, their economies are buoyed by foreign bank lending, which sends profits back to home countries and can be reversed at any time.
Politically, the neoliberal revolution also has been a success for U.S. Cold Warriors, who sent over native Balts from Georgetown and other universities to impose “free market” doctrine – that is, a market “free” of domestic regulation against theft of the public domain, against monopolies, against land taxes and other income taxes. The Baltic states, like most of the rest of the former Soviet Union, became the Wild East.
What was left to the Baltic countries was land and real estate. Their forests are being cut down to sell wood abroad. I describe all this in my book Killing the Host.
The Saker: After independence, the Baltic states had tried to cut as many ties with Russia as possible. This included building (rather silly looking) fences, to forcing the Russians to develop their ports on the Baltic, to shutting down large (or selling to foreign interests which then shut them down) and profitable factories (including a large nuclear plant I believe), etc. What has been the impact of this policy of “economic de-Sovietization” on the local economies?
Michael Hudson: Dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that Baltic countries lost their traditional markets, and had to shift their focus to Western Europe and, to some extent, Asia.
Latvia and Estonia had been assigned computer and information technology, and they have found this to be much in demand. When I was in Japan, for instance, CEOs told me that they were looking to Latvia above all to outsource computer work.
Banking also was a surviving sector. Gregory Lautchansky, former vice-rector at the University of Riga had been a major player already in the 1980s for moving out Russian oil and KGB money. (His company, Nordex, was sold to Mark Rich.) Many banks continued to shepherd Russian flight capital via offshore banking centers into the United States, Britain and other countries. Cyprus of course was another big player in this.
The Saker: Russians are still considered “non-citizens” in the Baltic republics; what has been the economic impact of this policy, if any, of anti-Russian discrimination in the Baltic states?
Michael Hudson: Russian-speakers, who do not acquire citizenship (which requires passing local language and history tests), are blocked from political office and administrative work. While most Russian speakers below retirement age have now acquired that citizenship, the means by which citizenship must be acquired has caused divisions.
Early on in independence, many Russians were blocked from government, and they went into business, which was avoided by many native Balts during the Soviet era because it was not as remunerative as going into government and profiting from corruption. For instance, real estate was a burden to administer. Russian-speakers, especially Jewish ones, have wisely focused on real estate.
The largest political party is Harmony Center, whose members and leadership are mainly Russian-speaking. But the various neoliberal and nationalist parties have jointed to block its ability to influence law in Parliament.
Since Russian speakers are only able to “vote with their feet,” many have joined in the vast outflow of emigration, either back to Russia or to other EU countries. Moreover, the poor quality of social benefits has led to few children being born.
The Saker: I often hear that a huge number of locals (including non-Russians) have emigrated from the Baltic states. What has caused this and what has been the impact of this emigration for the Baltic states?
Michael Hudson: The Baltic states, especially Latvia, have lost about 30 percent of their population since the 1990s, especially those of working age. In Latvia, about 10 percent of the loss were Russians who exited shortly after independence. The other 20 percent have subsequently emigrated.
The European Commission forecasts that Latvia’s working-age population will decline by 1.6% annually for the next 20 years, while the birth rate remains as stagnant as it was in the late 1980s. The retired population (over age 65) will rise to half a million people by 2030, more than a quarter of today’s population, and perhaps about a third of what remains. This is not a domestic market that will attract foreign or local investment.
And in any case, the European Union has viewed the post-Soviet economies simply as markets for their own industrial and agricultural exports, not as economies to be built up by public subsidy as the European countries themselves, the U.S. and Chinese economies have done. The European motto is, “Give a man a fish, and he will be fed all day with your surplus fish and consumer goods – but give him a fishing rod and we will lose a customer.”
Readers who are interested might want to look at the following books and articles. I think the leading work has been done by Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson.
- The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Baltic Model (London: Routledge Press, 2014). Editors, J. Sommers & C. Woolfson. Foreword, J. Galbraith. ISBN: 978-0-415-82003-5.
- Jeffrey Sommers, “No People, Big Problem’: Democracy And Its Discontents In Latvia’s National Elections,” Social Europe, October 17, 2018.
- Jeffrey Sommers, “Decline of the Demos: Latvia, the Face of New Europe and Austerity’s Return,” in F. Jaitner, T. Olteanu and T. Spöri, eds., Crises in the Post-Soviet Space: From the dissolution of the Soviet Union to the conflict in Ukraine (Routledge Press, 2018) pp. 195-209. ISBN 9780815377245.
- Jeffrey Sommers, “Austerity as a global prescription and lessons from the neoliberal Baltic experiment.” Economic & Labour Relations Review. Keynote article, 25:3 (fall 2014) pp. 1-20. DOI 10.1177/1035304614544091. Co-authored with C. Woolfson and A. Juskaa.
The Saker: Finally, what do you believe is the most likely future for these states? Will they succeed in becoming a “tiny anti-Russia” on Russia’s doorstep? The Russians appear to have been very successful in their import-substitution program, at least when trying to replace the Baltic states: does that mean that the economic ties between Russia and these states is now gone forever? Is it now too late, or are there still measures these countries could take to reverse the current trends?
Michael Hudson: Trump’s trade sanctions against Russia hurt the Baltic countries especially. One of their strong sectors was agriculture. Lithuania, for instance, was known for its cheese, even in Latvia. The sanctions led Russian dairy farming to develop their own cheese-making, and agriculture has become one of Russia’s strongest performing sectors.
This is a market that looks like it will be permanently lost to the Baltic states. In effect, Trump is helping Russia follow precisely the policy that made American agriculture rich: agricultural isolation has forced domestic replacement for hitherto foreign food. I expect that this will lead to consumer goods and other products as well.
The Saker: thank you for your time and replies!
”The European Commission forecasts that Latvia’s working-age population will decline by 1.6% annually for the next 20 years, while the birth rate remains as stagnant as it was in the late 1980s.”
Meaning that by 2039/2040, the working-age population will have dwindled down to 72% of its present size, accompanied by ageing demographics overall. Totally pitch-black future prospects for these Brown And Little Tiny Insect CountrieS. Well, they chose unwisely to put their trust in Sweden’s banking sector. ”European values” sealed the fate of Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania.
Perhaps the Swedish Riksbank will bestow “Nobel Prizes” on the Baltic states’ economic policymakers.
Outright bogus, anti-scientific ”Nobel prize” for a couple of Sweden’s drooling lackeys abroad, administrating economic genocide. Seems all but certain.
Due to my lack of historical knowledge on the former Soviet states, I am really starting to wonder how did countries like the Baltic states and Ukraine become so anti-Russian ?
Were these regions already anti-Russian when they were part of the Soviet Union ? Is the animosity historic in nature? Was it related to Soviet control ? Is it also related to an anti-Orthodox stance?
Will have to do some googling when i have time 😁
The Americans helped them rewrite their histories. This meant that kids from a young age were taught that the Russians are bad and the the Americans are good. These kids are now grown up and they really believe this nonsense. Of course, the media has continued the same discourse. All facts that contradict the official narrative are hidden or ignored.
Those who are forced to emigrate for economic reasons tend to somehow blame the Russians – rather than their own crocked governments. People seem to believe the media rather than their own eyes.
When the Baltic states were part of the Soviet Union, the people had free education and healthcare, including housing. The Baltic states become independent after the fall of the Soviet Union, and between 25 % and 30 % of their populations emigrate. Now the old communist “guard” in the Baltic states is regretting that the states become independent, as they know that they cannot function independently. Too late for that. Since Ukraine has a tough time functioning independently, how can they ? As for blaming Russia for their economic shortcomings, that philosophy is fit for psychiatric analysis. What do they want ? Free energy and everything else they can dream of ?
Any country can be turned into a racist and fascist entity if its economy is destroyed. Then it is easy to blame scapegoats, particularly if the media is the usual Western ‘Free Press’ propaganda model sewer of lies and hate and fear-mongering. If the process is subsidised by a wealthy patron, in this case the USA and its Western stooges, who, not incidentally, led the economic demolition and looting, it will be that much more certain of success. And if you add an emigre community consisting of fascist and racist thugs, marinated in generations of fascistic hatred and dreams of vengeance, you get the filthy stew one sees in the Baltics, Ukraine and elsewhere, say Hong Kong, for instance. Hatred is and always has been the Right’s existential fuel, their very raison d’etre.
I know that in Ukraine it was the case of mass propaganda. Relatives/friends say that people over 40 remember the truth, but almost all under 40 are just totally brain-washed to believe that the West is good and will save them from those god-awful moskals. If you do not know your history, your mind is open to all sorts of manipulations.
Here’s a pretty good article discussing the history of the relationship between Poland and Russia. Some of this applies to the Baltic countries as well.
Harry – yes, it is related to Soviet control including the killing and terror that went on after the Soviet invasion of 1940, the bad experiences in WWII, the stalinist terror afterwards then the Soviet occupation. Once the Baltic states regained their freedom, they were set upon by the western financial predators as happened to Russia. Russia survived thanks to the hard work of President Putin and his team. The Baltic States have had no such champions and, to make matters worse, they joined the European Union. If citizens are encouraged to focus on hating the Russians, they are less likely to question their own governments or take remedial action.
Those are good observations.
The Soviet occupation was especially important. Russia got tired of being invaded. So Stalin wanted the Baltic States and Poland as a buffer. That was understandable from the Russian perspective. They had lost tens of millions in the invasions. But it was also understandable that the Baltics and Poland did not wish to be buffers.
It was a bad situation all around and ended up with lasting animosities.
Thanks all for the comments….This partly confirms the little I have read until now.
‘Stalinist terror’…which is merely an invention of the fascist west…
Indoctrination is the main problem in the west today…as we see all the time in comments like these…
Just about everything that is pushing the west to its final collapse is due to spreading historical falsehoods and revisionism among its own populace…thereby destroying the very essence of an intelligent and productive population…
Creating in its stead a huge mass of ideological zombie-slaves who have lost the prime mover in man’s ability to function well…the ability to reason and think for one’s self…and to arrive at logical conclusions about what is true and what is false…
Why has this indoctrination of its own people been essential to the fascist west…?
Because we could not have predatory finance capitalism without it…you see people must believe in the ‘rightness’ of capitalism in order to impose wage and debt slavery on themselves…[for the benefit of a tiny parasite class that now exercise ABSOLUTE control over the bodily lives of the western peoples… ]
The people must even believe that their state of abject slavery is in fact a wonderful state of affairs…
As Johann von Goethe remarked…
The notion of ‘Stalinist terror’ just like Mao’s murderous ‘regime’ and other such such fairy tales [think WMD and Assad’s chemical weapons] are demonstrably fake narratives having nothing to do with reality…
Had the populace been educated about the true history of our modern world, it would be impossible to impose this system of modern slavery…where half the American people now don’t even have access to 500 dollars in cash…most live hand to mouth and true living standards are becoming increasingly unbearable…
Your and your family’s existence hangs by a thread and the whim of a ruthlessly exploitative capitalist employer…and the even more ruthless finance capitalist that actually owns the roof over your head…
These are the realities of modern life for an increasing number of people in the capitalist west…since they are not in control of either their income, nor of basics like shelter…they are in fact slaves…
By contrast, as many have pointed out…the Soviet ‘terror’ included iron-clad job security for life…as well as a RIGHT to housing…
The Saker prefaces his interview with an anecdote about a brainwashed relative who has no idea of how the world actually works…which is of course typical…
Recently I saw a comment on another popular discussion forum where one poor fellow expressed his horror at the Chinese communist system because, he figured that it would be terrible that supposing he somehow became a billionaire [WOW]…the Chinese government could just take it from him any time they pleased…
Now leaving aside the utter absurdity of this statement…which clearly indicates a brainwashed slave who believes earnestly that his state of slavery is wonderful…let us turn to some real thinkers on this subject…we don’t need to go far, the information is there for all to access and to think about…
In his incredibly powerful discussion on politics and the role of wealth and money, as well as the very nature of man…Aristotle told this anecdote…
The great thinker logically proceeds to deconstruct what is good and natural and what it means to actually live well…
And also dissects very precisely the issue of slavery…which was of course common then, and even more so today…
He concludes that some are destined for slavery from the moment they are born…but also discusses the inherent contradictions in this and the very fine line between a just master who treats his servants in the correct and proper way…
And what is it that makes one born to be a slave…is this even natural…?
The great thinker proceeds to weigh the powerful contradictions from both sides of the coin…
The main takeaway from this stubborn and seemingly intractable question is that the person who is not able to rule his own intellect, cannot then be anything but a servant to those who are better equipped to put his bodily work production to good use…
Aristotle, Politics Book 1
So we see here how it becomes imperative to separate the ordinary people from their ability to rule their very own god-given intellect…as the great thinker surmises, you cannot possibly be a slave if your intellect rules over your own self…
Wow that is a lot to take in. Unfortunately for us after reading it I cannot find a word of it that is not true.
Some post soviet republics became anti-Russian the same way the American people did, namely by propaganda and brainwashing.
You have to understand that Polish/west ukrainians/Baltic have a distinct culture and history. Russia is the old enemy, as was confirmed in recent times by the USSR control of those countries.
Those people, for right or wrong reasons (they used to be catholic and not orthodox), want to control their own destiny, distinctively from the Russians.
See one map:
Russophobes reap what they sow.
The Baltics are a pimple on the ass of Europe. Of no consequence to themselves or anyone else.
It is clear that the Russian Federation has left them in the dust.
Hate is their GDP.
Ultimately, geography will define their destiny.
During the nineties I attended european conferences which were not open to media or public.
The debate amongst the elites – appointed and elected – plus academics then was what to do with the suffering eastern nations. Manage them on the outside which would be challenging to say the least or bring them in group by group to in order to dominate them.
Europe was not in any financial position to bring them all in en mass as the absorbtion of east Germany into the west was revealing to be very very costly. And not just economics : socially and politically many citizens required adjusting to a different political culture and its spin offs.
It was quickly observed that the eastern nations were all suffering similar upheavals of varying degrees and the best and brightest of their citizens were immigrating west.
The Russian Federation in parallel was also collapsing and of little interest to the european elites ..
And the decision made is what is visible.
However, there have developed serious wide spread social and poverty issues in the Baltics which attract very little attention ie commentaries in the “west”.
Obviously and historically speaking, it is more easy to corrupt and control a country if it’s best and brightest have left and there is major poverty and upheaval for sure.
while visiting my daughter with my 1 year old granddaughter I remembered how much work it was to raise children. Then think of the monetary cost of raising a child and probably send them to college. Then think if these grown children – the working age that are emigrating out of the country. What a drain on the economy of the Baltics. These educated working age people had their raising paid for by the Baltics – a form of saved wealth.. and now a free gift to Germany Britain, France or where ever they end up.
They’re as good as dead. Might be the first time we see literal nations get simply deleted out of existence, by their own fault too
In my view, there seems to be four mutually exclusive alternatives for the future of the Baltics:
1) Complete, utter depopulation with zero people left. This will make the land fair game for dumping of Western toxic waste, a special case of which would be testing of chemical and biological weapons.
2) ”Soros and associates” settle the land with Third World immigrants/refugees. This would serve the purpose of building up a massive invasion force to be directed at Russia.
3) Poland, uninvited as always, correctly sniffs out that there is land nearby to cannibalize — in proximity to Russia, mmm… While the previous two proposals look somber, this is the assured path to catastrophe. Gownopolska has an outstanding track record of stirring up horrors just for showing its importance.
4) Russia settles the land. Problem solved.
Whenever we see the name Dr. Michael Hudson headlined, we immediately jump on the opportunity to read or hear his new topics!
Thank you Saker for post this conversation.
If ever there was an economist who deserved The Nobel Prize in Economics, it IS Dr. Michael Hudson. I hope he knows how many of us highly recommend and regard his insights. He’s truly remarkable!
I think he’s provided us here, a well thought out general outline to HOW badly these countries have suffered; principally due to Western Capitalism. If you’re even slightly informed about the cancerous evil of Western Capitalism, especially in the US, his narration will make complete sense.
That an expert, like himself, can synthesize his vast knowledge into a simple conversation, tells us scores about Hudson’s genius. Unlike most ALL Western Economists, he, inevitably, tells us The Truth.
Just so you know there is no such thing as a Nobel Prize for Economics. The fact that some people think there is one is purely because the Banks set up one for the purposes of Capitalist propaganda and self promotion. The Bankocracy created a phony prize and it has nothing to do with the Nobel committee. This is reason enough to be sure that Hudson would never get it.
After Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize without doing one good thing…and then a few short years into his first administration, declared (not privately enough) about his Drone Program to Recruit Enraged Jihadists…….
….”I am very good at killing.”
(i.e selecting the next wedding party to be droned..in complete remote cowardice and safety)
what sane person would respect or desire anything further from such an Ig-Noble ………..”Committee”…of Empire sycophants and promoters???
The Zionist dual nationals parachuted in by Washington as colonial governors of these US satellites have so convinced themselves of their tremendous self importance that they believe the evil Putin is constantly scheming to march in and seize the Latvian peat bogs and the Estonian lap dancing bars.
They seemed to believe the streets of the EU were paved with gold. Maybe they should have asked the Greeks about that one.
Ukraine used to be the most prosperous and highly developed region of the USSR, with an educated and skilled work force. Steel, coal, metallurgy, vehicles, locomotives, shipbuilding, engineering, chemicals, agricultural machinery, aircraft, armaments, space craft. All the helicopter engines for the whole of the USSR and its many export customers were produced there. Now all that is gone, through years of non stop looting by oligarchs like Kolomoisky and corrupt politicians. Ukraine currently competes with Moldova for the title of poorest country in Europe. It has a lower standard of living than Egypt. Like Poland and the Baltics, it could have made a fortune out of gas transit. But it was such an unreliable partner that Russia developed Nordstream and Turkstream instead. Tens of billions of dollars poured into the country from the West and the IMF have disappeared into a big black hole. The only future Ukraine has now is as a centre of foreign owned agribusiness (Monsanto), foreign owned extractive industries (Joe Biden’s son), and a source of cheap unskilled labour and Natasha prostitutes (the only thing Ukraine produces that the EU wants.)
Much the same is true of Poland and the Baltics. They have become depopulated, deindustrialised backwaters. Anyone capable of doing so has voted with his/ her feet to seek their fortune abroad, generally scratching a living doing menial jobs or working as whores. They have no future. The Baltics could have made a fortune as a transit hub for Russia, with ports like Riga. Instead, they turned their countries into NATO/ CIA playgrounds and Russia upgraded its own ports instead. They have no future. Let them stew in their own juice. Russia owes them nothing.
The Baltic nations are a bright and shining example of American and Western freedom and democracy in action.
The only problem is that this statement is most definitely NOT a compliment!
The Baltic nations made a deal with the Great Satan.
Now, they reap what they have sown with this devil’s deal.
The balts are being used in a similar manner now by the zpc/nwo as they were during the 1920-30s period by the zpc/nwo predecessor. Far right, foreign controlled regimes, who’s main purpose was being a thorn in Russia’s foot.
Thought i would send on, one of my pontifications on Geopolitics which i circulated to American friends some while back > It may be somewhat off-topic but i touched on the Baltics If anyone has comments about the accuracy of my pontifications, i would be happy to hear their views and corrections, but only on the MFC…
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2016
I want to describe here the brilliant radar that Russia has developed in recent years.
Although the USA knows the general principles already since 2003, there is currently no US equivalent.
Here’s a Taster of how Dr Strangelove sees the issue. He’s clearly in a panic >
This is why:
From accounts from the Baltic States – always remembering the context that most indigenous ethnic Balts have fled their countries and migrated to Germany and the UK for economic reasons and that the Russian minorities are now a larger share of the remaining population – which is 50% below what it was in 1990 – so the remaining ethnic Balts have introduced American citizens of Baltic origin to run their countries, who are now doing their best to pull the Baltics completely out of Russian influence – Trouble is they are right next door to the Russian Exclave Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg). The Russians don’t really care if the West wants to sink finance into the Baltic states. Their only concern is to protect the Russian ethnic population from any abuse. Putin was quite candid in stating that once he was secure in the Kremlin, he went through the comprehensive state archives and noted from his research that the Baltic states had always been net spongers on Russia, so as far as he was concerned, they were not of any value to modern Russia. This context is worth keeping in mind, the next time you read an article of some idiot journalist who repeats the mantra that “Russia is about to invade the Baltic states.”
Just for further context: in 1990-1995 the Russian Military governor of Kaliningrad thought that the West had good intentions towards the Soviet Union and thought it might be useful for discussions to be held, to reunite Koenigsberg with Germany, now that East Germany was reunited with the western part. I recall Helmut Kohl grabbing this opportunity with both hands but he knew he had Margaret Thatcher to deal with. She had already put a spanner in the works of Germany’s delight at Reunification by warning of the “threat of German Resurgence” and when Peenemuende wanted to set up a museum, the British Media screamed hysterically about Germany trying to show the V2 Rocket as something worthy of a museum. Kohl had the clever idea of holding discussions in Kaliningrad with the Leader of the EU at the time (was it Xavier Solana? correct me if im wrong) such that any outcome would result in Koenigsberg returning to Western European sovereignty and not German. The Military Governor of Kaliningrad saw it as a way of helping this region to develop faster. He was all for further discussions.
I have always had a soft spot for Pommerania. It is a beautiful part of the world. It has the same German atmosphere even today, that you find in every pretty little German village and town. It was always sad to read the history of this region, how the Junkers, a farming community based on Mennonite tradition, at first resisted any attempt to align Prussia with Hitlers Nazi movement but were pulled in through pressure put on Von Papen (who was himself quite reluctant and ended up “exiled” in Ankara in 1941 where my mother worked in the Swiss embassy as Liaison staff between the Allies and Axis powers and met him on the diplomatic circuit). It was always a sad reminder of the fortunes of war and really ‘belongs’ to Germany. Polish friends have told me that ethnic Poles who have settled in Pommerania and Silesia since the war, were – even today – considered second-class citizens in Poland. You travel there today and it feels like a region under temporary occupation. The natives still don’t feel at ease in an environment that is a very different culture to their own.
Putin put a halt to any negotiations over Kaliningrad…and thank God he had the foresight to do so. It will now never be returned to Germany. Not as long as Germany has its sovereignty compromised (I believe it is 2099 when the US agreement with Germany to station forces there, runs out) and certainly not as long as NATO exists…
Anyway that’s just for context. Kaliningrad is now the base for one of Russias Fleets. As it is surrounded by a more and more thuggish NATO, it has inevitably become a military fortress. NATO has been holding various Naval exercises off the coast of Kaliningrad, in an attempt to “demonstrate to the Russians that NATO is resolute in defending its territory” – in truth of course, the political mechanisms work like this: The Baltic states are technically bankrupt. They need huge amounts of inward foreign investment. No sorry, the Drunken British Stag and Hen Party Brigade don’t bring enough funds. In fact quite the opposite: the London City financial traders who spend weekends there, have been buying so much of the low-valued property that it has become too costly for Balts to live in their own country. The American-Balts hit on a wheeze: talk up the Russian threat, to get NATO to spend money there…
But be careful what you wish for. NATO exercises have mainly brought in drunks and vandals and rapists and looters (um… i mean NATO sailors) No im not being catty. Check out the Baltic websites, where they report on ejecting NATO forces for disgracing themselves…Baltic Blondes are nice. Treat them decent.
Russia has sat back patiently, watching all these antics. They are quite relaxed about all the NATO activity. The Russians have carefully noted the weapons systems entering the Theatre. Heres where the fun starts. NATO ships have to do joint manoeuvres to coordinate a disparate bunch of nationalities, cultures and languages (even if everyone speaks english, the German interpretation of what they hear spoken in english, is marred by “false-friends” and, vice versa when the French speak english to the Germans, to take just one example. But in contrast: Russia speaks with one single voice and all Russians are on the same wavelength, as they are far more patriotic and resolute than any modern European. ( By this i mean, Russians know they are defending their Motherland – whilst western Europeans do their predatory bit, entirely for money) ….But NATO is also too heavily dependent on electronics. NATO ships have communications with airforces, submarines and land-based HQs, they have on-board weapons systems that include anti-submarine depth charges, torpedoes, anti-missile systems, anti-aircraft systems, on land they have their tanks and jeeps and APCs and anti-aircraft missile systems, they have their on-board command and communication systems…so you need to test the ability of 35? NATO members to coordinate all these systems…I forgot the satellites …
Except that when NATO forces did their Baltic Sea based exercises within the last 3-4 years, they noted that their radar systems were affected by weather patterns…or so they thought. Well, they reported that command, control, communications, launch orders….could simply not be done. Oh well, lets hope for better weather….
Actually it was Russian Radar – the first attempts by Russia to test their A2AD system (Access-To+Area-Denial).
NATO forces were completely compromised. Nothing worked. Absolutely Nothing. Nichts. Zilch. Rien-Du-Tout. NATO were sitting ducks… until the Russians switched off their Radar…
So…lets say that NATO were to launch an attack on Russia (which is far more likely, based on NATOs 70-year-track-record of launching illegal wars, than Russia attacking NATO)…
No wonder the Kremlin is quite relaxed about it. Dr Strangelove is shitting his pants …his ability to make mischief with impunity, is no longer guaranteed…
NATO keeps bolstering the Baltics with In-Situ weapons systems, to give the Balts a sense of confidence. Yeah ..Right. Estonia gets 5 Abrams Tanks. Latvia gets 5. Lithuania gets 5, Nothing that a small tactical Russian Neutron Bomb couldn’t take care of. Retaliation? Nothing that three echelons of defensive technology couldnt take care of.
Just an aside to armchair warriors and hotheads: two-thirds of the US population is on the Atlantic East Coast. 70 million are clustered tight in one area. You want a war with Russia? Thats 70 million wiped out with one Russian Thermonuclear weapon….so what do you in turn, destroy in Russia, in this vast Eurasian landscape? The population is so dispersed you cant do much damage…but the Russians have their defensive ABM S300, S350 and S400 systems and the new S500 is going to pack a lot more punch…and the US ICBM (offensive) and ABM (defensive) systems are corroding in their silos…so guess who has the best chance of survival in a Nuclear Exchange? – if survival and prevailing is what the US neo-cons are thinking, is even still possible)…
Putin did warn the USA that if the US were to start a hostile act against Russian territory, it was not going to affect Russia, as in past wars, but the conflict would take place over the aggressors – American – territory…and would be decisive within one hour of the US attempts…and…far worse…there is the “Dead-Mans-Handle” – Russian war doctrine spells out in the event of a nuclear attack, which may-or-may-not decapitate the Russian leadership, Russia would launch its whole remaining arsenal at the USA… starting with the Pentagon and Langley and ending on the Yellowstone Caldera, which at least the Russians are fully aware, could set off a cataclysm that could not only destroy all life on the West Coast of the USA but indeed all life on Planet Earth but also fracture the planet completely and send the fragments spinning into space…ever heard the sound an earthquake makes? This would be way, way louder…
Whatever…By coincidence the US has just now, released, under the Freedom Of Information Act, data on all cities across the Soviet Union and China that were targeted for a nuclear strike. It makes for sober reading. Such vast expenditure on an offensive and defensive posture within the USA, plus even more vast expenditure on an offensive posture across the Globe… But it also shows the lack of understanding about how Russia ticks.
If one listened to NATO leadership – the moron Rasmussen and now, the inept bumbler Stoltenberg – the Russians hear them state that “NATO is not interested in attacking Russia” – but they see that all the NATO bases and actvities are getting closer to Russia. For the US weapons industry, this is all “only” a Jolly at US taxpayers expense… for the US Nomenklatura it is a fundamentalist infatuation to grab territory and resources…so the Russians are under no illusions and are in reality preparing for a war that they fully expect will happen one day… Look at the world once through Russian eyes – they have experienced the predatory behaviour of the French (remember Napoleons attack on Moscow?), the British + Americans (remember their attack on the Bolsheviks and invasion of St Petersburg in 1917-18?), the Germans (1941-45) and now the US with its poodles in NATO…
Russia developed MIRVs and packed them with far more punch (ONE of their Thermonuclear weapons can wipe out an area the size of France or Texas) and kept the systems active and ready to fizz and bang….but there is no guarantee that after all the $Trillions that the US has wasted on their own systems, that the US has any Nukes that really will work….not when the silo staff are all suicidal, alcoholic and depressive (check out the extremely candid recent Time Mag spread for this – I also remind the reader that hundreds of top US Military Brass signed a document stating that the Silos were compromised by Alien interference… if you need funds from Washington to upgrade and the Russians cannot be invoked as the Baddies, why indeed not say the Aliens did it….???). Surreal story but absolutely true. Time Magazine reported this…It worked…the US is technically bankrupt, with Federal budget debt of $22 trillion plus other private debts such as credit-card/student-loans/leasing-and hire-purchase of at least $240trillion but now will spend a further $1trillion just on nuclear weapons upgrades. Those with a better memory might ask>…”Hang on? didnt the Bush Regime also spend this kind of money already on starting a new production plant which has even more interior space than the Pentagon, hitherto the largest building in the world? so…where are the weapons??” Nice building though…just a bit empty…
The buzzword now in the American nomenklatura is development of “Backpack weapons with limited effects…”
Yeah…The US wants to (again) use small nuclear weapons in anger… Putin said, quite logically, it makes NO difference whether the US sends 1 kiloton or 2 kilotons onto Russia, the US is still going to get 500 kilotons on its own head if it ever does that….
Anyway, I digress…Next there were reports in the South China Sea that US ships had encountered “bad-weather patterns which disrupted all command, control and communications between ships and aircraft.” Looks like the Chinese were testing their own system on the Americans. I was reading that the Chinese developed the A2AD system and shared it with Russia…but other sources say it was the Russians who developed it and shared it with China. Strange how the US media in contrast, still keeps on about Russia and China being adversaries… (Maybe its actually a good thing that the West is fooling itself: its own hubris leads it to a situation where it threatens everybody but will not have the capability to defend itself ? – or as with the US neocons, such as John McCain and John Bolton, it makes them even more arrogant and willing to go to the brink – as we have seen in more recent times – only to be caught short by discovering the reality and the limit to their threats, exposing their psychopathy and ineptness)…
Since reading more about this, i discovered that A2AD radar was actually an Iranian invention, which they happily share with Russia and China – and come to think of it, this makes sense when i recall how the British and Americans regularly sent their sailors on dinghies along the Iranian coast with a view to testing the Iranian defences and looking for weak spots…but they appear to have had their radar bearings confused through Iranian A2AD and ended up right in Iranian waters, where… naturally… the Iranians picked them up and arrested them… I know i am digressing again here but it is worth mentioning > The Iranians took out their measuring tapes and the young British sailors and marines were absolutely terrified – they thought they were being measured for the right Coffin size…(such is the level of paranoia that the British and American political nomenklatura instill in their servicemen…)
In reality the Iranians wanted to win over the captured troops with a kindly gesture …they released the stray British and Americans and gave each a ready-made, perfectly fitting suit of silk cloth. I call that perfect diplomacy…the fright was an unexpected bonus…
The Chinese are going ahead with reclamation of sandbars. The 20+ new installations will have many functions – safe harbour for dredgers to keep shipping lanes open – harbour for military to attack pirates – oil, gas and mineral exploration bases – sonar and radar early warning bases – container ports. Most recently they tested one sandbar that can now carry Intercontinental jets. So far, each time an American warship has sailed too close, a Chinese aircraft has been launched with A2AD radar pointed at the Americans. No wonder the US cannot do much except needle a bit and piss off the Chinese with some choice insults (verbal abuse seems to be another weapon in the US “diplomatic” armory – or maybe i am just reading it wrong and simpletons like Jan Pisaki and Samantha Powers are simply boorish oafs)…Nicky Haley being the latest but similar incarnation of imbecilic US behaviour at the UN…and her replacement doesnt bode much better…
Then there was the incident off the coast of Crimea. Apart from messing about deliberately with the Montreux Convention and rotating ships in the Black Sea beyond the legal timeframe (Turkey is the legal guarantor of the Montreux Convention hahaha …as if they could intervene in a dispute between the USA and Russia), the US sent a destroyer into Russian waters, right off Crimea. A deliberately provocative act. The US Destroyer even fired off a cruise missile to demonstrate i suppose, that they could do some damage…
Media reports in the UK stated that the Russians had acted in a threatening manner towards a poor little NATO ship and that the American ship was all flustered and had to retreat. Yeah right…NATO enters Russian waters and it is the Russians who have threatened NATO…yawn…
Except that it didn’t quite turn out that way: The actual event was like this: The American destroyer entered Russian territorial waters. It even fired off a cruise missile. Except that on launching, the cruise missile went out of control and plopped harmlessly into the water. Then a Russian Sukhoi fighter-jet appeared right overhead. The US destroyer tried to array its Phalanx guns on the Jet, they went for missile launch, they tried to call HQ, alarm, alarm we’re under attack, a Russian jet has just dive bombed us…The Russian jet did a figure of eight. It rose away from the destroyer, turned around and dive bombed again. It did this 12 times. The Americans couldn’t do a thing. Their whole command, control, communications apparatus was fogged. They had to use mechanical rudder to reverse out of this situation as fast as possible. Then the Russian jet switched off its A2AD radar and the American destroyer left the scene as fast as its ‘Murican crew could paddle…
Exit a flustered American crew. They though they were dealing with the Third World. They thought they could bully and threaten and ignore international law as they have always done since 1945.
The Russians do not gloat over such incidents. They know similar incidents will happen well into the future. They are preparing quietly and with dignity for war. Except, as they warn repeatedly, dont mess with us, we really mean it when we say it will be the last war you will ever fight. Lucky for the Americans that A2AD didn’t involve harm.
The Russians had every right to Nuke the American ship….and more…
Just a bit of further detail about the US ship that took part – they ended up in a Black Sea port where 25 crewmen resigned their commissions on health grounds as they had been so shocked by the incident that they thought The End had come for them… These servicemen appear to have thought that they were on a “Jolly” and would never come into harms way… when their leaders in the US Nomenklatura have only the one aim…to use these sailors as cannon-fodder to provoke Russia into a war…
Turns out the American military have been holding friendly bi-annual “confidence-building measure” meetings with their Russian counterparts, where each side explains in detail the technologies already in theatre and what they have planned. At such a recent meeting, the US Military stated candidly that they had run various NATO scenarios 12 times (check out Rand Corporation for more details on this) and each time posited initially that NATO could initially prevail. But…each scenario proved to the US Military that the Russians, starting with their A2AD, would dominate the battlefield so comprehensively that the whole West would be defeated within a few days conflict. And this, only from the weapons systems that the Russians allow us to know about. Many retired US Generals state that the USA does not have the capability to back the threatening language emanating from the White House and State Departments.
It is not just imperial overstretch. It is a fact that the Russians and Chinese have weapons systems that are way superior to any equivalent system the US has available and the US military know this. There is plenty of evidence available on YouTube – such as the Australian Air Forces comparative testing of US, Russian and Chinese fighter jets over Georgian airspace, where the Australians stated that the Russian and Chinese fighters were way ahead of the top comparable US fighter-jet –
Or the extreme embarrassment faced by the British RAF when British airmen flew the latest fighter jets (as a sales demonstration) in mock-aerial combat against indian pilots flying 40 year old Russian Sukhois – and the Indian pilots prevailed in every mission.
The irony is stark when you look at expenditures. The US spends over 20 times the amount that Russia and China have spent on R&D – and expenditure on deployment is even more at variance.
Imperial Hubris? My suggestion is that China and Russia are MORE advanced than the USA…if mathematical and technical genius is the measure of things. I have been looking at the stats on university admissions of engineering students. The Chinese and Russians are way ahead of the US and the gap is widening. But still the imagery prevails in the West that we are dealing with a Third World Country that is a pushover and can be easily destabilised, so we can steal their resources and bail out the bankrupt Western economies (Merkel, Hollande and Cameron are full signatories to this view, so it is not just the psychopathic US Neo-Cons who think like this)
When one studies the patent applications as a measure of prowess and innovation, the Chinese now dominate the field…
But it is one thing if the US Military has men like Mike Mullen, of realism and integrity. They are after all at the sharp end. They would be the ones to die. The psychopathic Neocons in the Washington Beltway – particularly in Langley – see the world differently…There are many in the US military however, who see the Russians and Chinese as secular allies who we should not constantly antagonize, but rather recognise that they can help manage world affairs fully to the advantage of secular states. But that is the power of Brainwashing. You cannot easily reverse 70 years of Cold-War Brainwashing. Well you could… but the public is not so keen to read and think, nowadays…its more comfortable to just read what confirms your own prejudices and dismiss and discredit an alternative view. So there is no shadow of a doubt there > the US Nomenklatura – be it through Madison Avenue or Hollywood – has been masterful at creating imagery that the US population has swallowed whole…as in the American parlance: “they drank all the Kool-Aid…”
The Chinese and Russians are now in the Mediterranean. They have the A2AD systems in place, on their ships and aircraft and on land in Syria….
There was the stage where Russia fired off cruise missiles from ships parked in the Caspian sea, aiming them at specific Syrian targets. Contrary to Christiane Amanpour of CNN who immediately squealed that the missiles had landed in Iran and destroyed villages, Iran stated that this was nonsense, they welcomed the overflight and all hit the prescribed targets.
Secondly there was the stage when Russia launched cruise missiles from their Mediterranean ships.
There was actually no real ‘need’ to fire cruise missiles from the Caspian and Mediterranen. The Russian Airforce have sufficient assets in Latakia.
The reason for the cruise missile launches were threefold:
1) test the systems by using them in the theatre in anger
2) demonstrate to NATO that they had these capabilities
3) test the A2AD radar and improve it…
The US SACEUR Breedlove at this stage stated that he noted with great concern that Russia showed it had the capability to deny access to half of the Mediterranean.
The Israelis were also warned using A2AD, that they could not fly into Syrian airspace anymore. They kept away…except for one incident which they could not resist, when Hezbollah assembled a weapons cache to assist Assad. The Israelis went in and destroyed it. Guess what the Russians have done? they doubled the amount of new weapons going to Hezbollah and added long range artillery. Message received. Israel is now keeping out and trying now suddenly, even to distance itself from ISIS (but it is on the record that a US and an Israeli politician paid a visit to a Golan Heights hospital to pay homage to a wounded ISIS fighter who was being patched up there…) and Iraq recently arrested an Israeli Defence Force soldier who was fighting alongside and commanding ISIS troops within Iraq….Get The Picture??
So it was interesting to note that Germany pulled out its Patriot missile system from Turkey… making some lame excuse that it was too costly to run…yeah right…why was it then there in the first place?
So i have mentioned the use of A2AD in the Baltics, The South China Sea, The Black Sea, The Mediterranean….
Then there was the Turkish incident.
Again Western media reports gave a distorted picture at the very start and ran with that. “Russian jet strayed into Turkish airspace. Initially the Turkish government “tolerated” these overflights.”
What happened in reality was that Russia was testing the A2AD fitted to Sukhois. A lone Russian jet saw a squadron of Turkish F16 patrolling the border. Quite unprecedented, the Russian pilot locked his radar onto the NATO jets. In military aviation terms this means you are ready to fire. But it was one old Russian jet against 8 faster and more modern NATO fighters. Even then, the Turks scrambled…they understood. Russia used the A2AD radar on the F16s… But of course the Turks then became vindictive and that is why the Russian jet was brought down much later, through an Ambush. Unfortunately the Russians were caught off-guard as they had assumed they now had clear use of the airspace. But we now know that Turkey is fully aligned with the Saudi Wahabi agenda…
Russia then stated it would henceforth shoot down any aircraft that was not officially on mission to assist Russian forces.
Russia installed the S400 air-defence system in theatre to protect its own forces (and since then, now also the S300 to protect Syrian airspace…)
The USA then pulled out its F14s and F15s that it had positioned…coicidence …of course… Not to lose face, the official US media reported that the aircraft were pulled for routine maintenance…
….guilty conscience more like, since the Turkish F16 could not have operated its missile to shoot down the Russian jet, without an American and a Saudi AWACS directing it and the weapons system to target. The Russians showed to the USA that they had the radar picture clearly identifying the US involvement in the shooting down of the Russian jet…next time Russia is quite prepared to shoot down ANY NATO aircraft. Russia is in Syria legally by invitation of the elected Syrian government, unlike all the NATO meddlers…
There was also an interesting incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Not so much about A2AD Radar but more to do with The Invisible Man.
The US held some war games in the Gulf of Mexico. Suddenly a Chinese submarine popped up in the middle of the US ships, raised its flag…then dived under again.
The US does not have the capability to “see” Russian or Chinese submarines. But the US certainly knows how to depth-charge and blow up Whales when it thinks US interests are threatened.
This simple gesture of the Chinese certainly caused a shock to the US top-brass. …
Their answer? well lets take just the Littoral Combat Ship as an innovative response – Billions spent on this system…but they dont work and the whole project is dead in the water…too many lines of code / too many faults in programming… quite apart from the fact that the engines come from Germany and the boat is built in Australia – thats a neat bit of production and service-support coordination there… whatever happened to the superb shipbuilding capabilities of Henry Kaiser?? Why are US workers not involved in building US ships??
But…ask yourself: Does it matter how many lines of code, when the Chinese submarine simply has to use the A2AD radar and the LCS will be just another dead duck in a “turkey shoot”…
Oh that reminds me…Alaska…. Like 10 Downing Street, the White House started a Petition site. It is supposed to demonstrate just how democratic the UK and US are.
Some bright spark made a petition asking for Alaska to be returned to Russia. Correct me if i am wrong but around 50,000 signatories agreed…The White House pulled the petition off air…Maybe the Russians should also send their NGOs to Alaska to do what the US is doing within Russia, wandering about, doing consumer surveys, with loaded questions such as “As you are living in Siberia would you not prefer to be in an independent republic which gets development funds from the West, rather than to be dictated to by the evil men in Moscow?” The Western Pollsters came back with their tails between their legs. Siberians are proud of being Russians…same with Crimeans…
Do you still adhere to the idea that China and Russia are worthless Third World nations?
Check the next time you buy anything: 95% of the time it will have been made in China. Check next time you use computer software or anti-virus… chances are that Chinese and Russian computer scientists helped develop the western systems. Bill Gates is on record as stating that after 1990 the first thing he did, was engage Russian computer experts…
Rather late in the day, the US gives a contract to the British to develop an antidote to the Russian A2AD system….
Lets put that into context: a Nation of 350 million cannot itself muster the brains to tackle advanced technology of this type…
The US is even now still dependent on Russian rocket engines to launch its own military satellites… Whilst at first it seems bizarre for Russia to do this trade, it has much wider implications > the Russians must feel extremely secure, if these same rockets that they deliver to the US, could potentially be used to deliver nuclear weapons to destroy Russia…
Thank you for that re-post.
It is a tour de force on the subject of A2AD, as it covered so many military incidents that have been highlighted in the news cycle, but as individual theatre incidents usually bashing the Russians or Chinese, and tied them tightly together.
Thank you to Dr. Hudson, and The Saker:
The sadly accurate assessment of the rapid progression-to-the-bottom described by many commenters in the commenting section, is just a fast-forward of what is happening in the ‘member-countries‘ (an oxymoron and pun at the same time).
Exactly the same thing has already happened in Canada, Australia, NZ, UK, and the clownish U.S.A. itself; the differences are mostly associated with a slightly extended time line, and highly-tuned perception-management techniques (highly advanced, socially-engineered propaganda techniques) which would make Joseph Goebbels and the Orwellian Minister of Truth blush in admiration and envy.
“…imposed crushing austerity programs to restore macroeconomic “stability” meaning security of their land and infrastructure grabs…“, does that sound familiar to any readers living in the aforementioned countries of the so-called first-world, industrialized, west. One major difference is that we have no where to ‘vote-with-our-feet‘; the illusion of some kind of an economic oasis has not been part of the perception management campaign, which has instead touted the empire as peerless as a quality of life option.
… and always, the same pattern of control by a minority affiliation of trans-nationals…
if humanity survives, pay back will be a bitch.
Saker, I would be very interested in hearing his views on China’s economy and the growing relationship with Russia as part of a host of new socioeconomic developments in the Eurasian region, now the most dynamic economic region in the world.
I suggest you visit Dr. Hudson’s website and use the search function to find his numerous articles about China, where he often teaches, Here’s one to get you started, “The IMF Changes its Rules to Isolate China and Russia”. IMO, Dr. Hudson’s two greatest contributions are dissecting the rise of Neoliberalism and its Junk Economics and the history of Debt Forgiveness, and trying to show people how the two are connected. Several of the papers he’s produced this year are outstanding pieces of work, including the one he just posted in pre-publication form. Happy Reading!
“This is a market that looks like it will be permanently lost to the Baltic states. In effect, Trump is helping Russia follow precisely the policy that made American agriculture rich: agricultural isolation has forced domestic replacement for hitherto foreign food. I expect that this will lead to consumer goods and other products as well.”
Read Friedrich List’s book The National System of Political Economy. The original German original is from the early 1830’ties.Many decades ago in what the Americans would call Middle School, our teachers explained it all. That was when Putin had ju.st gor his first short pants.
A free ebook can be found here in EPUB, Kindle, PDF and HTM formats.:
Given the belligerence the Baltic States have shown to Russia it will be a long time before they are doing business over there again. Poland will never do business with Russia. Their services and goods are no longer needed. Their role is again cannon fodder for interests in New Your and London. The more things change the more they stay the same.
The Baltic ”states” are collapsing. They will be grabbed by Poland unless Russia intervenes. With Russia’s successes and utter humiliation of the Western gangsters in Syria, Putin has got the prestige and reputation to do as Russia sees fit also in the Baltics.
Who threats who?
Total Population Active Mil. Personnel Mil. Budget
(in millions) (in millions) (in billion $)
NATO 934 3.670 841.8
(USA) 326 1.469 590.0
RUSSIA 147 0.900 66.3
Only way Russia can be a threat: Russians are SuperMen (and SuperWomen)…